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Italy & Germany

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Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
Few sights encapsulate the magical feel of the Bavarian Alps like Neuschwanstein Castle. The impressive towers, vast halls, and mountain-top setting bring out your inner child, transporting you back to a time of bedtime stories and...
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83209 Herrenchiemsee, Germany
... a mini version of it. Bavaria's King Ludwig II certainly did have a passion for the extraordinary just like King Louis the XIV did. He build the famous Neuschwanstein Castle that served as a model for the the Walt Disney Castle and the castle...
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Füssen, Germany
The incredible little town of Füssen in Bavaria has to be one of the best kept secrets in Europe. However, it is mostly ignored by visitors to this Alpine region because of its more-famous neighbor: King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein castle. That's a...
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Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
The cathedral, usually called the Duomo, is Florence’s most recognizable building. You are able to catch glimpses of its magnificent red-tiled cupola from just about anywhere in the city center. Construction on the church...
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Lungarno degli Archibusieri, 8/r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
There are few better places from which to enjoy river views and sunsets than the Ponte Vecchio, built in 1345. Spanning the Arno's narrowest point, this is the only bridge to have survived the German bombing of the city in 1944. There have always...
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Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy

I saw this exquisite chalk drawing of Leonardo da Vinci's Lady With An Ermine on the ground in one of the main plazas in Firenze. It started drizzling and I just had to take this photo before the rain washed it away!

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Via dei Servi, 66/68R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Even with all the noted thinkers, artists, politicians, and powerful families who’ve called Florence home, Leonardo da Vinci is arguably the city’s most famous son. This homage focuses less on his artwork and more on Da Vinci’s forward-thinking...
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Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
One of the more unusual ways to see Florence is by taking a river cruise on a traditional wooden barchetto. These small boats (originally used to transport building materials) hold up to 12 passengers and ply up and down the stretch of the Arno...
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Piazza dei Rossi, 1R, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Tucked away in a tiny piazzetta just off the main Ponte Vecchio–Palazzo Pitti tourist drag, this bright, modern squeeze of a wine bar specializes in wines by small, lesser-known producers from all over Italy. Tempting snacks include fabulous...
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Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Ideally you'd have a whole day to appreciate the world’s foremost collection of Renaissance paintings, housed in the 16th-century headquarters of the Medici court. But for those with less time, highlights include the three great...
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52043 Castiglion Fiorentino, Province of Arezzo, Italy
Castiliogn Fiorentino is a medieval walled village in the heart of Tuscany. Approachable by train less than an hour south of Florence. It was a rainy Sunday. Almost deserted of tourists but full of lovely and welcoming locals. We hiked to the...
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Via Sant'Andrea, 23, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
This "Agriturismo" is owned and operated by Sarah Fioroni, author of "A Family Farm in Tuscany". Sarah travels to the United States to hold Italian cooking classes (we met her in San Antonio, Texas). This is a view of historic San Gimignano from...
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58043 Castiglione della Pescaia, Province of Grosseto, Italy
Last summer we spent an unforgettable week in Tuscany, in the little town of Castiglione della Pescaia. It's a typical small coastal town, with people on scooters everywhere, terraces full of people enjoying cappuccinos, and fishermen going out to...
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Via S. Martino, 17, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
Medieval hill towns in Italy were built for security. They endure for romance. San Gimignano, about 30 miles south of Florence and 35 miles north of Sienna, is one of a the best loved and most visited.
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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
This pink-marble waterfront edifice in Piazza San Marco dates back to the 14th century, when it was the residence and seat of government for the doges (rulers) of Venice. Today the ornate Byzantine- and Moorish-influenced Gothic Palazzo Ducale is...
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The Ponte dell'Accademia is one of four bridges that span the Grand Canal, and will get you quickly from San Marco to the labyrinthine Dorsoduro neighborhood. Originally built in 1854 out of steel, the current wooden bridge was built in the 1930s...
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Piazza San Marco, 52, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Want to get the most out of your experience in Piazza San Marco? Museo Correr is a little-known gem on the southern side of the square. In-the-know tourists come here to buy tickets to the Doge's Palace without a line. One ticket (16) provides...
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Piazza San Marco, 57, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
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Italy’s oldest cafe has been serving coffee on a silver tray with a water chaser and a cookie since opening in 1720. Caffè Florian features a series of ornate gilded Neo-Baroque salons with frescoes and red velvet banquettes, as well...
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Fondamenta Nani, 992, 30123 Dorsoduro, Venezia VE, Italy
If you are in Venice, you will surely get familiar with local 'Spritz' (a fizzy, refreshing aperitif) and cicchetti, or small snacks. If you want to have a local experience, be sure not to miss Cantine del Vino Già Schiavi while walking around La...
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Campiello Traghetto, 2467, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
The Gritti Palace's Bar Longhi is possibly one of the hottest tickets in Venice. It's where Hemingway drank his way through evenings while he was staying upstairs finishing his novel, Across the River and Through the Trees. Many other celebrated...
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Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
There's plenty of art in Venice, from the churches to the Scuoli to the Accademia. But when you just can't look at another Caravaggio, and even Titian hair doesn't move you any more, refresh yourself with a visit to Peggy's house. The renowned...
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Fondamenta Zitelle, 86, 30133 Venezia VE, Italy
It seems like a miracle that anything in Venice, especially accommodation, could be affordable. But now that the 36-room Generator Hostel opened on Venice's Guidecca Island, day trippers and the budget-minded can finally afford to drop anchor in...
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853/A, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
Bars like Gino's in the Dorsoduro neighborhood of Venice are the kind of Italian institutions that I hope never go away. It's what you might call an Italian sports bar, with daily newspapers hanging about and a loyal local following that can be...
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San Croce, 1992, 30135 Venezia VE, Italy
A short five minute walk from the Rialto Market, down winding streets, small campos and alleyways, is the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo. Recently restored and expanded in 2013, the museum is a window on to the lives of 17th and 18th century Venetian...
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Calle del Scaleter, 2794, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Carlo Goldoni was born in Venice in 1707 and went on to be one of the Italy's most important playwrights. He spent many years living and working in Paris, where he died in 1793. Ca' Centani, the 15th century gothic palace acquired by Goldoni's...
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Santa Maria Formosa, 5252, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
The Palazzo Querini Stampalia Museum is one of the best small house museums in the city for its architecture and period interiors. This former residence belonged to Venice's Querini Stampalia family and is great to visit if you're interested in...
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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
I had been skeptical of the Venetian gondola ride, thinking it too touristy and overpriced. Last summer, however, I discovered what is so special about this Venetian tradition. A gondola ride provides a unique view of Venice from the quiet...
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Strada comunale Serra, 1, 14055 Annunziata, Costigliole d'Asti AT, Italy
Winemaker Renato Ratti recently opened to the public his family’s 18th-century, 13-room villa in the Piedmont countryside. An old cellar stores decades’ worth of Ratti wines. Guided tastings can be arranged upon request, and bottles can be shipped...